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It’s commonly said, in this country, that God is Brazilian. We recognize the beauties of our land, the energy of our people, and the magnificence of our culture. On the other hand, we love to complain about the disdainful way our forests are treated, the mischievous ways in which Brazilians sometimes behave, and the carelessness shown towards our cultural manifestations.
I’ve never heard anyone say this, but, if God is Brazilian, there are some reasons to believe that the Devil might also be. If that happens to be true, here are 7 of his possible birthplaces (and their respective sins):
Lust: São Paulo
São Paulo is not only the lustful capital of Brazil, but it also hosts the most lustful street in the country. Rua Oscar Freire — recently voted one of the eight most luxurious streets in the world — is more than 2km long, is filled with exclusive luxury brand stores, and is surrounded by a huge number of similar, independent shops selling Dior, Luis Vuitton, and Armani.
The neighborhood of Jardins is home to the largest number of luxury escorts in Brazil, with prices ranging up to tens of thousands per night. Jardins also has some of the most expensive nightclubs in the country. So, when you see a beautiful girl shopping in Jardins for clothes to go out at night, beware: Lust might be the link among all these activities.
Gluttony: Rio Branco
Rio Branco has the highest percentage (21.3%) of obese inhabitants in Brazil. If we were talking about the quality of the food, I’d probably mention Belo Horizonte, and the delicious cheese bread they make, and the sweet milk jam, and…I’m lucky gluttony refers not to what is eaten, but to how much is eaten.
Built in the late 1950s, in less than a century Brasília has expanded to the point where it has the second highest per capita GDP in Brazil. It’s undeniable that greed has played an important role in its evolution. And it’s consensual amongst citizens that the federal capital is also our “greed capital.”
“The pursuit of material possessions,” “theft,” and “manipulation of authority” are expressions commonly used to define this sin. Reading a local newspaper is enough to notice all these practices widespread in the city where most of our top politicians live and work.
Maceió is the most violent capital city in Brazil, by far: the ratio is about 111.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, nearly ten times higher than that of São Paulo, the city most commonly associated with violence, murder, theft, and other things we don’t really like to talk about.
Envy: Rio de Janeiro
Pick the most beautiful people in the world, drop them into the most beautiful scenery in the world. Add some heat to the place (or subtract apparel from the people, if you want to be more direct), and you have an ecosystem designed to generate envy.
Walking down its boardwalks or strolling its beaches, you’ll bump into perfectly sculpted bodies, a handful of celebrities, and, inevitably, develop a little bit of envy. Rio is home to the most famous Brazilians, and it’s not a coincidence that it’s also where the majority of our world-famous soap operas are produced. If you’ve watched any of them, you’ll recognize that envy also overflows to the Rio portrayed on TV — 99% of their plots are driven by a villain that’s madly envious of a good guy or girl.
Pride: Porto Alegre
The most popular beer in Brazil has its ranking threatened by a smaller, locally produced beer from the southernmost state of the country. The national anthem is swapped for the state’s anthem at the beginning of every official sports event (gaúchos, the inhabitants of the Rio Grande do Sul state, have sung their local anthem by heart since childhood).
Porto Alegre is the Brazilian capital of pride because, put simply, gaúchos are the most prideful people in the country. This pride is found in their local dress, food and drink, linguistic traits (Portuguese, in the south, has a strong castellano accent), and history. Rio Grande do Sul wasn’t originally part of Brazil but was militarily seized after an unsuccessful revolution in the 19th century. What remains from that epoch are the traditions of the people. And their homegrown pride.
Rumour has it that the hard-working executive from São Paulo once saw the bare-chested guy from Salvador lying in a hammock, resting. The executive asked: “Boy, did you know that sloth is one of the seven capital sins?” The guy from Salvador, without moving a muscle, answered: “And did you know envy is another?”
All kidding aside, it’s somewhat hard to “prove” that Salvador is the laziest capital in Brazil. Although, the people there don’t strive to break down this prejudice either. If you feel like collecting some data, or doing some field research, please share the results with someone from Salvador. And if you can’t find anyone, a good idea is to look in the nearest hammock.